|(Photo from Flickr)|
harlequin quail (en); codorniz-arlequim (pt); caille arlequin (fr); codorniz arlequín (es); harlekinwachtel (de)
This African species is found from the Ivory Coast to Kenya and Uganda, and south to South Africa, being absent from the Congo basin and Namibia. They are also found in most of Madagascar.
The harlequin quail is 16-20 cm long and weighs 57-64 g.
These birds are found in open grasslands, savannas and savanna woodlands, favouring patches of bristle grasses Setaria and sorghum Sorghum purpureosericum.
These birds eat both seeds, shoots and leaves of plants, as well as a wide variety of invertebrates. They are known to eat the seeds of grasses like Eleusine, Setaria and Sorghum purpureosericum, and snails, slugs and insects including grasshoppers, beetles, bugs, ants, termites and caterpillars.
Harlequin quails mostly breed in October-March, but the rain is the main factor controlling the timing of the breeding season. They form loose colonies, with the females building the nests on the ground, in a scrape lined with weeds, generally hidden within grassy vegetation. There the female lays 4-8 brown eggs with darker spots, which she incubates alone for 14-18 days. The chicks are able to fly short distances after 5 days, but the male protects them against predators for a few more weeks. Each pair may produce 2-3 clutches per year.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common to abundant in some areas. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.